Run your way to fitness – our guide for beginners (part 3)

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GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS IN RUNNING YOUR WAY TO FITNESS – OUR GUIDE (PART 3)

In the final part of our running series for beginners we’ve put together a training plan to help get you started. The six-week schedule is based on three runs a week with the aim of completing a 30 minute run by the end. Please remember it’s only a guide and you should train at an intensity you are comfortable with. If you are new to exercise or have been ill or injured, make sure you consult a doctor before starting training.

Getting started
Running places a lot of strain on your joints so you will need to build up slowly by following a run and walk programme. This helps your body to get used to the running action, reduces the risk of injury and allows you to recover during the session. As you improve you’ll soon notice that you are walking less and running more. Most new runners will go too fast when they start a run. Try to avoid setting off too quickly and instead aim to run at a comfortable and constant pace. You should be able to talk while you run and you shouldn’t be gasping for air.
Whenever you train, it is important to take time to warm up and cool down to reduce the risk of injury. Warming up helps get the muscles ready for exercise – they become more pliable and less likely to tear. During the warm up blood flow to the muscles is increased and your body temperature rises to get you ready for exercise. A cool down is also important to give your body the chance to recover. Stopping an exercise suddenly can cause pooling of blood in the legs, cramps or dizziness. By cooling down slowly you help your body and heart rate to return to pre-exercise levels.
You will also need to stretch all your major muscle groups – especially your hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles. It is a good idea to stretch after exercising because all your muscles are warm – it is much easier and safer to stretch warm muscles. When you have finished stretching your heart rate should have returned to normal, your muscles should feel relaxed and you should feel energised.

The programme
Try to run three times a week with a day’s rest between sessions. Remember to train at your own level. If you are struggling repeat a few of the sessions until you feel comfortable. If you are progressing well try to increase the length and intensity of your running. For these sessions you should alternate running and walking until you have completed the stated time of the session. Please consult a doctor before you begin your training programme.

Week one
Session one: 20 minutes – alternate one minute of walking with one minute of running.
Session two: 30 minutes run/walk – try to run for longer than a minute and then take a longer walk to recover.
Session three: 30 minutes run/walk – try to improve on the previous two sessions.

Week two
Session one: 25 minutes – try to run for two to five minutes with a two minute walk in between.
Session two: 25 minutes – repeat session one.
Session three: 30 minutes – try to increase the length of time you spend running and decrease the time you are walking.

Week three
Session one: 30 minutes – try to run for eight to 10 minutes with a two minute walk.
Session two: 25 minutes – repeat session one.
Session three: 30 minutes – try to run for 10 to 15 minutes, with a few minutes’ walk recovery, followed by a five minute run.

Week four
Repeat week three – increase the length of running depending on how you feel.

Week five
Session one: 30 minutes – eight to ten minutes running followed by a one minute walk
Session two: 30 minutes – run for 15 minutes, walk till you have recovered and finish with a five-minute run.
Session three: 30 minutes – repeat session one.

Weeks six
Session one: 32 minutes – run for 15 minutes, walk for one minute.
Session two: 33 minutes – run for 10 minutes, walk for one minute.
Session three: Run for 30 minutes

Sensible training
• Take it slowly – don’t try to do too much too soon or you risk getting injured.
• Take time to recover between sessions.
• Don’t forget your stretches.
• Don’t be afraid to walk.
• Always warm up and cool down.
• Train at your own level.
• Exercise with a friend to keep each other motivated.
• Relax and enjoy your running.

 

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I am a freelance writer and copywriter living and working in the UK. I am a keen runner, avid reader and aspiring author. I am currently studying for a master’s degree in creative writing. Please visit my website at www.lizchampion.co.uk or follow me on Twitter @Lizzie_Champion.

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